- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 386 Hour
- Reading permission
Dreams of My Russian Summers
Originally written in French by Andrei Makine |
Translated into English by Geoffrey Strachan
Read by Alfred White
This is one of the most touching novels I have ever read, filled with tenderness and passion, pain and heartbroken, hope and joy … beautifully written ...
Here are a few paragraphs from the book …
<< … That evening we joined our grandmother on the little balcony of her apartment. Covered in flowers, it seemed suspended above the hot haze of the steppes. A copper sun nudged the horizon, remained undecided for a moment, then plunged rapidly. The first stars trembled in the sky. Powerful, penetrating scents rose to us with the evening breeze.
We were silent. When the air was impregnated with ultramarine shadow, she raised her head, abandoning her task, her gaze lost in the hazy distance of the plain. Not daring to break her silence, we cast furtive glances at her from time to time: was she going to share a new and even more secret confidence with us? or would she fetch her lamp with the turquoise shade, as if nothing had happened, and read us a few pages of Daudet or Jules Verne, who often kept us company on our long summer evenings? Without admitting it to ourselves, we were lying in wait for her first word, her intonation. Our suspense -- the spectator's fascination with the tightrope walker -- was a mixture of rather cruel curiosity and a vague unease. We felt as if we were seeking to trap this woman who faced us alone.
However, she seemed not even to notice our tense presence. Her hands remained motionless in her lap; her gaze was lost in the transparency of the sky. The trace of a smile illuminated her lips....
Little by little we abandoned ourselves to this silence. Leaning over the handrail, we stared wide-eyed, trying to see as much sky as possible. The balcony reeled slightly, giving way under our feet, and began to float. The horizon drew closer, as if we were hurtling toward it across the night breeze.
It was above the line of the horizon that we discerned a pale reflection -- it was like the sparkle of little waves on the surface of a river. Incredulous, we peered into the darkness that surged over our flying balcony. Yes, far away on the steppe there shone an expanse of water, rising, spreading the bitter cold of the great rains. The sheet seemed to be lightening steadily, with a dull, wintry glow.
Now we saw emerging from this fantastic tide the black masses of apartment blocks, the spires of cathedrals, the posts of street lamps -- a city! Gigantic, harmonious despite the waters that flooded its avenues, a ghost city was emerging before our eyes....
Suddenly we realized that someone had been talking to us for quite a while. Our grandmother was talking to us!
"At that time I must have been almost your age; it was the winter of 1910. The Seine had turned into a real sea. The people of Paris traveled round by boat. The streets were like rivers; the squares, like great lakes. And what astonished me most was the silence....
"On our balcony we heard the sleepy silence of flooded Paris. The lapping of a few waves when a boat went by, a muffled voice at the end of a drowned avenue.
The France of our grandmother, lie a misty Atlantis, was emerging from the waves… >>